Country Summary

2022 population pyramid



Madagascar was one of the last major habitable landmasses on earth settled by humans. Madagascar was a pirate stronghold during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The island was conquered by the French in 1896 who made it a colony. Independence was regained in 1960.



total: 587,041 sq km

land: 581,540 sq km

water: 5,501 sq km


tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Natural resources

graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, rare earth elements, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower

People and Society


28,172,462 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran


Malagasy (official) 99.9%, French (official) 23.6%, English 8.2%, other 0.6% (2018 est.)


Christian, indigenous, Muslim

Population growth rate

2.27% (2022 est.)


Government type

semi-presidential republic


name: Antananarivo

Executive branch

chief of state: President Andry RAJOELINA (since 21 January 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Christian NTSAY (since 6 June 2018 and re-appointed 19 July 2019) 

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate or Antenimieran-Doholona (reestablished on 22 January 2016, following the December 2015 senatorial election) (63 seats; 42 members indirectly elected by an electoral college of municipal, communal, regional, and provincial leaders and 21 appointed by the president of the republic; members serve 5-year terms); note - in December 2020 President RAJOELINA ordered that the senate now have only 18 seats, 6 of which are appointed by the president, the remaining 12 indirectly elected by an electoral college of municipal, communal, regional, and provincial leaders
National Assembly or Antenimierampirenena (151 seats; 87 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 64 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed-list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)


Economic overview

low-income East African island economy; natural resource rich; extreme poverty; return of political stability has helped growth; sharp tax revenue drop due to COVID-19; leading vanilla producer; environmentally fragile

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$41.82 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,500 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, sugar cane, cassava, sweet potatoes, milk, vegetables, bananas, mangoes/guavas, tropical fruit, potatoes


meat processing, seafood, soap, beer, leather, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism, mining


$4.09 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

United States 19%, France 18%, United Arab Emirates 7%, China 6%, Japan 6%, Germany 5%, India 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

vanilla, nickel, gold, clothing and apparel, gemstones (2019)


$4.7 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 24%, France 11%, United Arab Emirates 9%, India 7%, South Africa 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, rice, cars, packaged medicines, clothing and apparel (2019)

Page last updated: Tuesday, Jun 14, 2022